A Roslyn Heights man charged with drug trafficking and money laundering as the alleged leader of the Bonanno crime family was denied bond Thursday in federal court.
Damiano Zummo, 44, was arrested Nov. 8 and charged with engaging in a cocaine trafficking conspiracy, including one sale on Sept. 14 of more than a kilogram of cocaine for $38,000 inside a Manhattan gelato store, and laundering more than $250,000 with business checks issued to a false consulting company, Acting United States Attorney Bridget Rodhe said in a press release.
In a letter to the Second Circuit Court submitted Wednesday, Rodhe said Zummo’s history warranted detention.
“As an acting captain within a violent organized crime family, Zummo poses a particular threat if he were released because of his ability and demonstrated history of directing those who report to him to commit crimes on his behalf,” Rodhe said in the letter.
Secret recordings from a cooperating witness have been submitted as evidence against Zummo, including conversations about family induction ceremonies, physical assaults and police bribery.
“Every Christmas … we put $1,000 to a pizzeria and then we give them the money and then the cops go there to eat,” Zummo said according to the transcript.
“They eat, you know, we treat them good here,” Zummo continued. “They stay away, they don’t bother us.”
Rodhe said Zummo poses a danger to the community and is a significant flight risk as a citizen of Italy where his parents live.
“The defendant’s apparent willingness to bribe law enforcement poses a heightened risk that the defendant will further attempt to obstruct justice by corruptly interfering with the government’s case,” Rodhe said.
Zummo is charged alongside Salvatore Russo, 45, of Bellmore, who allegedly assisted in the Sept. 14 cocaine sale, as well as Paul Semplice, 54, and Paul Ragusa, 46, both of Brooklyn.
Semplice, an alleged member of the Gambino crime family, is charged with conducting a loansharking scheme in which he and others extended extortionate loans with interest rates of up to 54 percent each year, generating thousands of dollars every week.
Russo, represented by Stanley Kopilow, was released on $500,000 bond secured by real property. Ragusa and Semplice, represented by Michael Brown and Allen Frankel respectively, were held on a permanent order of detention.
All four pleaded not guilty Nov. 9. Zummo’s attorney, Todd Greenberg, did not respond for comment.